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EPA And Prasa Working To Improve Water & Sewerage System

Plan would bring all facilities into compliance with federal agency’s standards


July 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority (Prasa) are working on a comprehensive plan to bring all of Prasa’s facilities into compliance with the federal agency’s standards, said EPA Region 2 Administrator Jane Kenny.

The consent degree, which Kenny called a megaconsent decree because of its all-encompassing nature, will specify which capital improvements Prasa will have to make to its sewerage and water treatment facilities and pump stations, and operational and maintenance plans for the facilities. The decree will establish specific goals and timetables for compliance, said Kenny, who noted that the idea for the comprehensive plan stemmed from a meeting she had with then-Prasa President Juan Agosto Alicea.

"We are saying this is what is needed to be in compliance," said Kenny. An existing consent decree that currently covers all of the authority’s pumping stations will be folded into the larger decree.

While on a three-day visit in Puerto Rico last week, Kenny also announced that the EPA and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) have reached an agreement whereby Prepa will use cleaner fuels to power four of its electricity-generating stations. Prepa will also be required to spend $100,000 to acquire land in the Las Cucharillas wetlands in Cataño.

The announcement was a victory for local community groups, which have battled with Prepa for 12 years over the cleanup of emissions from its power plants. Under the modification to a 1999 consent decree, Prepa will use 0.5% sulfur-content fuel in its Palo Seco and San Juan plants beginning this year. It will use 0.75% sulfur-content fuel at its Aguirre and Costa Sur plants until 2007, when it will switch to 0.5% sulfur fuel.

Kenny also presented a $15,000 environmental justice grant to Apoyo Empresarial para la Peninsula de Cantera. Through a program called the Health Promotion & Family Alternative Initiative, the group will use the grant to help educate residents of the Cantera Peninsula about ways to improve local residents’ health and the environment.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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